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Archive for April, 2013

Before we headed north on Thursday, we took a morning walk down the Fern Canyon Trail in Van Damme where we were camping. It was overcast without sun – a little dull but a nice leg-stretcher before our 100-mile drive. There were all kinds of wildflowers but the trillium stood out.

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Suitably refreshed, we took off north on Highway 1. The road winds along the edge of the Pacific for 30 miles and then heads inland and really starts to twist. Dave did a great job but the 10 or 15 miles it took to get to Leggett seemed very long. It definitely got better when we got onto Highway 101. We were very happy to reach Myers Flat and found a very nice newly-opened campground on the Eel River (The Giant Redwoods RV Camp). Jody and Michael are very friendly managers, satellite reception and WiFi are good so we decided to stay a while.

On Friday, we had a little trouble finding the Humboldt Redwoods State Park Visitor Center, but once there, we got some advice on where to hike and went to the north end of the spread-out park to hike the Drury-Chaney Loop Trail. We walked into the trees and the trail immediately took on the aspect of a fairyland. The tall redwoods were totally surrounded by a rolling carpet of Redwood Sorrel, a three-leafed clover with a beautiful flower – some white, some pink. It was eerily quiet except for a few birds. Wonderful.

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We went for a short hike on Saturday morning through the Rockefeller Redwood Grove and along Bull Creek. Many of the longer hikes are not available because the seasonal bridges over Bull Creek aren’t in place yet. Oh well. The consolation is that the park is virtually empty. Luckily, we showed up when we did. Next week is the traditional Avenue of the Giants Marathon. We’ll be happy to miss that.

After a leisurely breakfast on Sunday morning we set out to do a few more short trails in Humboldt State Park. Stephen’s Grove Trail fit the bill. We marveled at the tall trees and lush foliage. (The first picture below has been enhanced with Photoshop.) After a picnic lunch and another walk, we retired (love that word!) back to the Lazy Daze. Our first week on the road has been great.

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One more picture – the mystery tree in the Giant Redwoods RV and Camp. We don’t know what it is but it has both vivid red and green leaves and sprays of white flowers. Very dramatic.

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Ah, the Pacific Coast. After two beautiful days, we have the heater on at 2:30 in the afternoon.

After a busy weekend of loading the Lazy Daze, Sunday night we had a farewell dinner at Sushi Raw. (Thanks, Mary and Rick) We took off on Monday morning, a gorgeous sunny day. We cut west from Highway 101 at Cloverdale and began the long windy trek on Highway 128 to Mendocino. Windy with the motorhome and the Rav4 isn’t all that much fun. I requested a stop at Boonville to walk around a little bit. Wow, it was pretty hot there. We got back on the road and got to Highway 1. Our destination, Van Damme State Park, was just a few miles up the road. We settled into a nice green spot by the Little River and brought out the chairs to enjoy our leafy abode. Of course, the park service was performing road repair right by our campsite, enough to drive out our neighbor.

We recuperated enough to walk over to the beach and straightaway found some abalone shells, Canadian geese with one little chick, Black Oystercatchers and nice shoreline. That night we had our traditional first-night-out dinner, spaghetti. Per advice from our friend, Mary Prendiville, we went out to the beach later to look for the Lyrid meteor shower. We had our usual luck – none – spying out meteors. The nice bright moon ruined the night sky.

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The next morning was our second flawless day, sunny from the start. We set out early and drove the 2 miles north to the town of Mendocino. The cemetery caught our attention and we wandered through it. There were some nice views of the town and ocean. My favorite epitaph was “Father, Friend and Funny Guy. Deeply Missed”.

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A little later, we headed north to one of my favorite places in California – the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens. Just south of Fort Bragg, their 47 acres encompass loads of rhododendrons, camellias, dwarf maples and succulents. Right now, the rhodies are the star of the show, although the bromiliads caught our photographic interest. If you get tired of all the flowers, head out to the coastal bluffs and check out the seabirds and surf. It’s glorious. It was warmer than we expected, even out by the water. We finally got tired and walked back to our car, parked by a pool covered with water lilies. Dave noticed a duck with an armada of ducklings. She hid when I pulled out my camera, but finally emerged with her flotilla.

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The next day we woke up to fog! Horrors! It’s just like home in June and July. We eventually got up and went to Russian Gulch State Park.  We took the Fern Trail to a nice waterfall. My knee was bothering me again, so I left my camera home and sped along without the weight of my photography equipment. We got to the very pretty waterfall and while Dave shot away, I wandered up to the top of the waterfall and went a ways down the trail when I noticed something black and big and browsing about 20 yards in front of me. Not looking too closely, I decided to turn around and go back. I will never know if it was a bear or not. Dave went up to look after I sped back and didn’t see anything. I’m not sure he believes it was likely a bear. Anyway, he let me shoot some pix with his camera (I just happened to have my own memory chip) and we returned back to camp.

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After cleaning up as best we could, we headed to the Café Beaujolais in Mendocino and proceeded to have a wonderful dinner. It was sturgeon for Dave and duck for me. Our desserts: coconut cream pie with caramel sauce and molten chocolate mousse and ice cream for Dave. To die for…..

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